Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Access to Capital, Workforce Top Digital Game Cluster Agenda

Digital Game Cluster leaders gathered for a MassTLC advisory board meeting at WorldWinner to review preliminary results of our recent survey of the Game industry and finalize the group's mission and goals.

Present were: Peter Blacklow, CEO, WorldWinner; Robert Ferrari, VP of Business Devel., Sanrio Digital; Tom Hopcroft, President, MassTLC; Chris Lorentzen, Babson MBA student; Satayan Mahajan, Motus Games; Christine Nolan, Cluster Manager, MassTLC; Jon Radoff, CEO, gamerDNA; Dan Scherlis, Entrepreneur; Jason Schupbach, Creative Economy Industry Director (via teleconference); and Scott Triola, COO, Blue Fang.

The group was pleasantly surprised to see the depth and breadth of the industry in the state. The survey revealed a growing sector with access to capital and talented workforce as the top issues. We agreed that the Cluster should be called Digital Games rather than Video Games to reflect a more contemporary representation of online games and agreed to the following revised mission and goals.

Mission: To raise awareness of the region's video game industry worldwide, continue to engage thought-leaders and resources across the state, and to grow the game industry in Massachusetts by creating opportunities for new and existing companies.

Goals: Accelerate Economic Development; Raise awareness about the potential of digital gaming as an accelerator in the MA economy; Build more dynamic relationships amongst universities.

Friday, March 27, 2009

State Officials Tour Autodesk's East Coast Headquarters

I joined Energy Commissioner Philip Giudice and Marty Walsh, Acting Director for the MA Office of Business Development for a private tour of Autodesk's (LEED Platinum certified) East Coast Headquarters in Waltham this morning. The company's Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) division is headquartered in the building. We were hosted by AEC Division executives Jay Bhatt, SVP; Philip Bernstein, VP Industry & Strategic Relations; Ken Tometsko, Director of Operations; and Paul Sullivan, Senior PR Manager.

Photo (courtesy of Autodesk): Philip Bernstein (speaking) with me, Paul Sullivan, Jay Bhatt, Marty Walsh, Philip Giudice, and Ken Tometsko are pictured here from left to right.

Jay Bhatt and Philip Bernstein briefed us on the building (designed and engineered with Autodesk's software) and their commitment to Massachusetts. We also discussed the ongoing paradigm shift towards Building Information Modeling (BIM) software and its ability to increase efficiency and reduce costs. I caught up with Jay and Philip afterwards for a brief interview… (video clip to follow soon).

Related Links:
MassTLC - Building the Smart Grid event on April 15th
Boston Globe - Autodesk Opens Green-Designed Building in Waltham
Mass High Tech - Autodesk Opens Green East Coast Headquarters in Waltham

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Designing IT In the Age of Obama

Council Trustee Dan Bricklin will moderate this discussion on "Designing IT in the Age of Obama" on Wednesday, April 1st. The panel includes Dan as moderator; Doc Searls, co-author of the Cluetrain Manifesto, Harvard's Berkman Center Fellow, and senior editor for Linux Journal; Susie Adams, Microsoft Federal Civilian and IGO Chief Technology Officer; Tom Yeaton, the new CEO of Black Duck Software (formerly Red Hat and Macromedia); and Tom Kincaid, Executive Director of Sun's Application Platform organization (part of the original Java EE architecture and management teams).

I've excerpted the following overview from his blog and recommend that you visit Dan's Blog for a lot more of the thinking behind this program. Dan wrote:

"In President Obama's inaugural address he touched on some particular themes about change. He also mentioned use of technology. I thought that if we could get some people who are used to thinking about changes in how we do things in the room we could have an interesting discussion."

"Since this will be much more of an open, un-panel discussion than a traditional go-down-the-line panel presentation, these four are there to be part of a discussion that includes everybody else who attends. Attendees who have already signed up include senior people from major software companies, lawyers with a corporate as well as industry-wide perspective, and students. We will definitely have in the room a wide range of experiences and views for discussion."

"This is not about Open Source vs. proprietary development but rather about issues common to all. I believe, though, that the exercise in thinking that went into the concept of Open Source is helpful here." More on Dan's Blog.

Click here for event details, attendees, and registration.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Everything Old Is New Again: All Media Is Social

At this MassTLC member-only roundtable, Brian Haven, Former Forrester Analyst, reminded Council members that all media is social and "social media" is not as new as we might think. Institutions perceive social media activities over the past 4-6 years as emergent behaviors, he told us. But, in reality, none of those behaviors are new--they've been with us since the dawn of man. He explained the characteristics that are actually different, and discussed the concept of engagement and measurement of social media.

Following the roundtable discussion, Council members with expertise in Social Media joined the Cluster's advisory board for a planning meeting for our upcoming Social Media Summit: What's the ROI of SOcial Media?

At that event, ROI questions will only be answered with experience, and results from first movers are beginning to lay the groundwork for best practices. It's time for the community of social media technology providers and their customers to get down to the practical issues of deciding what to measure and how to quantify results.

More info on the Social Media Summit.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

NIST Technology Innovation Program (TIP) Director to meet with MassTLC Robotics Cluster; TIP Receives $65M appropriation, announces 2009 competition,

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Technology Innovation Program (TIP) Director Mark Stanley (left photo) will join MassTLC Robotics Cluster leaders for an exclusive briefing on April 14th. NIST received $819 million in appropriations, an increase of 8.3 percent over the previous fiscal year, including $65 million for the Technology Innovation Program (TIP). (More Info)

Microsoft's Tandy Trower (GM of MS Robotics Studio - right photo - view Robotics Studio Presentation PDF) will set the stage with a high level overview of robotics sector, Cluster leaders will share insight on robotics in Massachusetts, and Mark Stanely will brief attendees on opportunities thought NIST's TIP program. This meeting will hopefully enhance the prospects for Massachusetts' white papers and submissions to TIP competitions.

NIST announced a 2009 TIP competition for multiyear research funding in two major areas of national interest, civil infrastructure and manufacturing. TIP promotes technological innovation by providing funding support to challenging, high-risk research projects that address critical national needs and is expected to provide cost-shared funding for approximately 25 new R&D projects. (More Info)

NIST is planning to have a "proposers conference" in Boston on April 13th similar to the April 8th conference in Maryland. Details on the Boston conference are not yet available. Click here for details on the Maryland Proposers Conference.

Important Robo Meetings & Events in April:
April 14 -- MassTLC Robotics Cluster Briefing - (Cambridge – email Vanessa@masstlc.org to request an invitation)
April 14 -- Mobile Robots “Robo Opportunity Roadshow" - Back Bay Hilton (Boston)
April 15-16 -- 2009 RoboBusiness Conference and Expo - Hynes Convention Center (Boston)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Win $100 AMEX Gift Card - MassTLC Survey

We are looking to develop new and innovative programs and services and would like your feedback - current member or not - on your experience with the Council and how we can continue to improve our offerings. We know your time is valuable and appreciate you participating in this brief, but important survey. After completing the survey, you will be entered into a raffle to win a $100 Amex Gift Card. We ask that you complete the survey by Wednesday, March 31st.  The lucky winner will be announced on Tuesday, April 7th.

Thank you for your valuable input. All responses are confidential.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Marketing in a Down Economy

John Neeson, Managing Director and Co-Founder of research and advisory services firm SiriusDecisions, lead a discussion on how organizations are approaching the marketing task in 2009 at MassTLC's recent Sales & Marketing Roundtable. Over 40 executives packed the room at IBM's Waltham facility. More info and attendees. Special thanks to Salesforce.com for sponsoring!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Innovation at the Intersection of Digital Games, Robotics and HealthCare Sectors in Mass.

The opportunity at the intersection of video games, robots, healthcare, and entrepreneurship was driven home during a visit with our Robotics Cluster to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. This video shows Cluster member Jim Mail of ABB Robotics trying out one of Hocoma and Spaulding's most fascinating therapeutic robotic applications.

Here, an exoskeleton supports his arm while the glove, fitted with sensors, tracks his grip position. This rehabilitative robotic application is then connected to a video game so a patient is motivated for the sorts of repetitive motions needed in his or her therapy. MassTLC supports Cluster communities for Entrepreneurship, HealthCare, Robotics, and Video Games. This application demonstrates the incredible opportunities that exist not only within each Cluster community, but at the intersections between them.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Robo Cluster Visits Spaulding Rehab

This month, MassTLC held its regular Robotics Cluster meeting at the Museum of Science so participants could take a short walk to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital for a demo of Hocoma's adult and pediatric Lokomat rehabilitative robot. This member-only meeting was attended by over 30 executives including the CEOs of Bluefin Robotics, iRobot, Hocoma, and more. About half the group stayed for the demo.

This site visit is a regular feature for the MassTLC Robotics Cluster. Over the past year or so the group has also trekked out to such locations as Kiva Systems in Woburn and Bluefin Robotics in Cambridge for a first-hand look at their operations.

This short video captures a glimpse of the kind of interaction members enjoyed at Spaulding. See also my posting on Video Games, Robots, and HealthCare.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

MassTLC Members Head to Washinton, DC

MassTLC is one of approximately 40 technology councils across the country that have banded together under the Technology Councils of North America (TECNA) umbrella to help drive the innovation economy. On March 18th, TECNA will be hosting a DC fly-in to advance interaction with TECNA leaders and key officials from the Obama Administration, Senate Leaders, House Leaders, and other technology industry experts on pertinent issues that face our industry. MassTLC members are invited to send their CEO or member of their senior leadership team to participate in this exciting opportunity. Affiliate members are encouraged to forward this opportunity to their technology company clients. Click here for complete details.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Share Your Input - State IT Survey

We all know that Massachusetts is a world leader in technology and innovation. And yet, somehow, we keep it a secret from the rest of the world. Well, that is all changing.

Recently, a consortium of corporate leaders, industry associations (including MassTLC), and government officials initiated an effort to document and publicize (1) the substantial contribution the IT industry makes to the Massachusetts economy and (2) the tremendous impact the IT industry has on other key sectors of the economy. The consortium plans to use the information to help shape strategies for the continued growth and success of the IT industry in the Commonwealth.

The consortium has hired the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute to conduct a survey to clearly identify trends and challenges faced by your business in the Commonwealth.

So, if you are currently running a technology business, we'd like you, or another senior executive in your company, to respond to this survey. Or, if you are in a service firm that supports the industry, we'd like you to please forward the survey to a key technology customer or client.

The survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. More info about this project.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Robo Leaders Gather at Museum of Science

This morning, about 30 members of MassTLC’s Robotics Cluster gathered at the Museum of Science for a Cluster Advisory Board meeting. The meeting agenda included updates from the Cluster’s Academic, Education, and Economic Development working groups as well as discussion about white papers for the NIST TIP Program. Following the meeting, Cluster members walked to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital for a demo of Hocoma’s Lokomat rehabilitative robotic application (more on the visit to be posted soon). MassTLC Advisory Board meetings are open to MassTLC members and invited guests only.

Meeting attendees included: Ted Acworth, Artaic; Andy Allen, Vecna Technologies; Colin Angle, iRobot; David Askey, Energid; Jeremy Brown, Rep Invariant; Penny Carleton, CIMIT; Ellen Cotton, Robotics Trends; Janice Crosby, CIMIT; Iahn Cujigas, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital; Dan d’Heilly, Wireless Techniques; Mike Gennert, WPI; Kathleen Hagan, ERG Global; Tom Hopcroft, MassTLC; Joe Jones, Harvest Automation; Dan Kara, Robotics Trends; David Kelly, Bluefin; Bob Kispert, MTC; Ted Kochanski, IEEE; Jim Mail, ABB; Dave Matheson, iRobot; Marilyn Matz; Ian McGuinness, MassTLC; Mark Newby, GEARS; Andrew Oswald, OZY Robotics; Ben Patritti, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital ; Ryan Pettrigrew, IEEE; Bob Quinn, Foster-Miller; Charles Remsberg, Hocoma; Raad Siraj; Marty Sklar, Automated Medical Instruments; Patrick Sobalvarro, Heartland Robotics; Kristen Stubbs, UMass Lowell; Jack Troast, T3 Advisors; Jason Walker, The Droid Works.

Monday, March 2, 2009

MassTLC 2007-2008 Highlights

I’ve had a number of requests for soft copies of the 2007-2008 Highlights overview that we distributed at the Annual Meeting. This document calls attention to just a few of the Council’s many highlights over the past two years.

It is also a nice tribute to Mary Finlay, deputy CIO of Partners HealthCare, who has lead as the Council’s Chairman for these past two years. Steve O'Leary, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at General Catalyst took over at Council Chairman at the Annual Meeting (see separate post).

View the MassTLC 2007-2008 Highlights PDF.